Kevin Robinson is well-known in East Providence for his X Games gold-medal winning skill on a BMX bike. But he has become just as recognizable for his charitable endeavors through the K-Rob Foundation.
Robinson's moniker is K-Rob. He and his wife, Robin, are both East Providence natives and attended the city's public schools. They moved to Barrington to raise a young family.
But when they heard their hometown's athletic programs in the middle schools were on the chopping block last year, for example, they didn't sit back and watch.
"I don't think [the budget commission] is thinking of the repercussions...You can't keep taking away from kids who don't have a voice," Robinson said.
He added that he thinks property values will dip as the quality of city's schools declines.
Robinson's non-profit, The K-Rob Foundation, backed efforts to help defray the $106,000 needed to fund the programs. The biggest event: the annual Family Fun Festival held each year in East Providence.
It will be held again this year on June 8 at Crescent Park after a run/walk from Pierce Field to the Crescent Park Carousel.
The foundation works to transform the lives of deserving children in East Providence by helping to get them involved in athletics. It raises funds to pay students' athletic fees separate from city-paid costs, for instance.
Anyone who visited East Providence's Bowling Academy in March last year from 3 to 6 pm had the price of admission donated to middle school sports programs.
But Robinson had a bigger prize: keep the community focused on rallying people without delving into the negative. He also urged politicians to leave behind personal agendas for the sake of the children.
"Any past problems you've had with anybody, it's time to put everything aside, be adults and move forward," he said.
During an early meeting, local sports supporters pledged to attend public budget hearings, petition local legislators and write members of the media. Many wore red and white sweatshirts, a visual nod to the city's slogan: "Townie Pride."
"I love seeing the community come together and everyone unite—not only the city of East Providence but the state of Rhode Island," Robinson said. "We're the people that vote...It's important for us to voice our opinions."
Robinson also met early with then Budget Commission Chairman Michael O'Keefe and two staff members.
"They want to keep sports just as much as everyone does. Unfortunately they have a job to do," he said after that meeting. "Right now we're trying to come up with ideas."
He also made a showing at a Budget Commission meeting.
"I hope that people can look beyond the controversy and politics," Robinson said. "I hope they can look into their hearts."